My colleague Sue Briault was talking to me about the film 'Suffragettes' which she watched a few days ago and it made me consider how far gender equality has come in the hundred years since the militant struggles for the right to vote. No- one can deny the advances made since the days of the suffragette campaigns such as; changes in relation to education (a hundred years ago, university education was almost entirely the preserve of men, but women now make up the majority of new graduates) and in professional employment and in political representation.
But I can't help but think this progress has been patchy. For example:
- In the national survey of graduates undertaken by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, male graduates reported earning more than their female counterparts, with mean salaries of £22,500 and £20,500 respectively. Male first degree leavers were also more likely to be earning more than £25,000.
- Women make up just 12.8% of the total STEM workforce in the UK. The UK also has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe.
- Fewer than one in five Silicon Roundabout tech companies are led by women.
- A survey carried out by the Chartered Management Institute and the pay analysts XPertHR reported a 22 per cent gender pay gap at management level – with women earning far less than their male counterparts. This translates to women working effectively 57 days for free.
- Currently there are only 191 female MPs, out of a total 650 members of parliament Female MP
All this is a rather depressing read isn't it? Well it doesn't need to be...Employers need to take lead and to commit to closing the pay gap. Within the graduate market there is excellent progress. Recently, the Careers Service at Bath hosted a panel event featuring professional women from Shell, Arup, Rolls Royce and Schlumberger. Graduate Woman showcases opportunities from employers who welcome a diverse workforce.
In addition to employers taking lead, I believe women competing in today's labour market need to be equipped with the right skills and confidence to challenge pay inequality and to manage their careers. We are delighted to be taking a proactive step in supporting our female undergraduates by offering the Sprint Development Programme, which ensures our female students are not only equipped to manage their career after graduation but also provides them with tools to enhance their development in all aspects of their life. This women-only programme is delivered over 3 ½ days and covers a wide range of development topics:
- How to harness and use your personal power and influence
- Understand organisation politics
- Identify your values, attitudes and direction
- Manage your time effectively
- Learn how to use assertiveness positively
- Build and manage your image, networking skills and confidence
- Engage with inspiring role models and industry professionals
The programme is supported by Microsoft, Arup and AXA and provides participants space to self-reflect and share personal experiences. The deadline to apply to join the programme is 4th December 2015 and application details can be found here.